South Africa: As We Ponder the State of the Nation, What Do We Need to Address?


Inequality is the key challenge all South Africans should be talking about. Levels of inequality in South Africa are among the highest in the world - the statistics are quite telling: the top 10% of the population earn about 60% of all income and own 95% of all assets.

This pattern of earnings and wealth is not the basis for a sustainable society. Addressing this unacceptably high level of inequality should be the focus of President Ramaphosa's economic policies. By IMRAAN VALODIA.

While we all breathe a sigh of relief that the Zuma years have ended, it is worth reflecting on the fact that increasing levels of inequality in the Thabo Mbeki years formed the basis for a consolidation of political forces that coalesced to give rise to Zuma.

During much of the Mbeki era, the economy grew at much higher levels than we have today, but the benefits accrued disproportionately to high-income groups. That, more than anything else, probably led to the dissatisfaction and populism that gave rise to Zuma.

Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to power has generated a lot of hope and optimism, especially on the economic front. His challenge now is to use this space to place the...

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